Waterjet cutting technologies are fast gaining popularity due to their versatility and ease of use. The use of water jet cutting techniques dates back to the 1800s where it was used for hydraulic mining. However, the use of narrow jets didn’t commence until the 1930s.
Over the years this technology has grown to make it even more accurate and eliminate taper continue.
What Is Waterjet Cutting?
This cold cutting technology is used to cut or erode material using supersonic water. Water is pumped through a high-pressure tubing whose pressure can reach up to 100,000 psi. It travels through the tubing to the cutting head where it’s directed to the material you want to cut.
There are two main cutting processes:
i. Pure water cutting- This is typically used to cut soft materials such as plastic, gaskets, foam rubber, etc. This makes it ideal for the paper industry. The typical pressure of these pure water jet cutting technologies is 60,000 psi.
This pressurized water travels through a tube towards a tiny 0.15 mm orifice that is made of sapphire. This ensures that the beam is focused into an accurate stream that travels at supersonic speeds.
ii. Abrasive water technology– It’s similar to pure water jet cutting except that water jet stream is enters into a carbide nozzle after passing through the orifice. The resulting water jet can cut through hard materials such as metal, composite, glass, ceramic, stone, etc. You can get abrasive water jet cutters at Flow waterjet.
What Are the Benefits of Waterjet Cutting Technology?
With water jet cutting, the possibilities are limitless. Regardless of the water cutting method you use, the benefits are similar. These benefits include:
Water jet cutting technologies can cut almost anything. They can cut composites such as carbon fiber-reinforced plastics and other reinforced plastics. These cutting technologies have a wide range of applications from NASA and NASCAR to aerospace components and racecars.
It can even cut metals such as stainless steel, all types of alloys, and hardened tool steel.
The interesting thing about water jet cutting is that doesn’t weaken the integrity of the material you are cutting. You see, heating metal or cutting a material using brute force often weakens the affected zone, which can lead to failure.
This makes water jet cutting ideal for aerospace and food processing industry.
Water jet cutting technology can also cut titanium, which is considerably harder to cut using conventional cutting methods. The use of water jet cutting technologies makes it possible to cut titanium quickly, accurately, and without surface embrittlement or thermal distortion.
Water jet cutting technologies can cut in literally any direction. It retains its accuracy regardless of the direction.
2. Environmentally Friendly
Going green has become the main priority for many manufacturers and industries across the globe. This wave has not spared cutting technologies. However, most of these technologies are often slower than conventional methods except for water jet cutting technologies.
Its precision is like no other and the ease of use is unparalleled.
Most cutting technologies often result in a lot of waste. However, water jet cutting produces less waste.
Unlike other cutting processes such as heating, water jet cutting does not use or produce harmful chemicals. It also does not rely on toxic materials and chemicals to cut through the materials. In addition, water jet cutting technologies often use a closed loop system that ensures no water is wasted.
During the cutting process, water and garnet are recycled until the cutting process is over.
3. Water Jet Cutting Is Fast
Although the speed and accuracy will heavily depend on the material being cut, water jet technologies seem to cut through anything with relative ease. Materials such as rubber that are easier to cut allow for a wide range of speeds depending on the cut quality desired.
For example, there are technologies that can allow traversing up to 3000 linear inches/minute.
When using a 30 horsepower pump, you can cut ½-inch thick titanium at a desirable rate of 7” per minute.
The sheer precision and accuracy of water jet technologies are remarkable. However, the level of accuracy will depend on a number of factors such as the controlling ability of your water jet stream or the stability of your cutting table.
Flow water jet cutting technologies will make it possible to achieve the highest level of accuracy with ease.
A typical water jet can handle tolerance ranging from 0.003” to 0.005”.
5. Ease of Use
Water jet cutting technology is surprisingly easy to use compared to cutting technologies such as laser technologies. It can also be used for 3D cutting although it’s not designed to.
It cuts 2D objects with ease. In addition, as long as your set up is stable, the technology will be accurate.
6. Smooth Edges
Due to its precision and accuracy, water jet cutting results in minimal kerfs and smooth surfaces. Water jet employs the use of erosion as opposed to heat or shearing. This produces exceptionally smooth edges without inducing mechanical stress.
Precision cutting using water jet is among the most efficient cutting methods. It is power and material-efficient. Not only does it recycle the water it uses but it’s also so accurate that the number of reworks is minimal.
Like earlier mentioned, water jet cutting technologies can cut almost anything. This means you don’t have to change machines when cutting different types of metals.
How Does Waterjet Cutting Compare to Other Cutting Technologies?
Compared to laser cutting technology, waterjet cutting is environmentally friendly and it does not generate heat to cut. Water jet cutting is specific in cutting while laser technology can also engrave. Laser cutting is not compatible with all materials especially if you combine two materials with different melting points.
The cost of using both technologies is somewhat similar. In addition, water jet cutting technologies can cut through thicker materials.
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